So I’ve had this draft started for a couple months now, and it always seems so daunting to write. Isn’t that always the way it is with things that you’re really passionate about? It’s like, you can’t even start to write it all down because there’s simply too much to say and a specific way in which you want to convey it. Well, I’ve decided to throw perfection out the window on this one, bite the bullet, and do my best to convey my thoughts and feelings on this topic of opening your home in radical hospitality, because I believe it’s just that important.
The Planted Idea
This past summer Brian and I were asked if someone could come live with us for the school year. This person is an intern with a campus ministry that we both interned with after college. We both lived with families during our time with this ministry, and it was an incredible blessing to both of us. Not only were we able to save money during those years, but we were also blessed by the families themselves! We got to witness their parenting, their marriages, the way they ran their house. It was a huge time of growth for us, I think especially for me, to be welcomed so freely into a home, and ultimately, into a family.
And this radical hospitality, I think it changed not just us, but those families too. I think it has the power to change both the giver and the receiver. Because it’s laying aside our preferences and serving when it would be easier to not, and it’s receiving a precious gift when we haven’t done anything to deserve it.
So when we were asked to do the same for someone, it only took us a few conversations to decide that yes, this is something we wanted to do. So we said yes, but unfortunately because of our move mid-September, our situation wasn’t ideal so they went with someone else. Which we were fine with (if not a little bummed), but now that we had this idea of someone living with us planted in our heads, we just couldn’t get it out.
And ever since then it’s been stuck right there, in a corner of my brain where it pops up suddenly and is reminded of often and makes me think. It’s come up in random conversations, in the book we’re reading with our small group, and in other things I’ve stumbled across online (more on that later).
So for the time being we’ve emailed some campus directors of a couple college ministries to let them know that we have a spare room should someone need it, but we’re also open to other ways that God might have us open our home.
In the meantime, we’re hosting meals, and gatherings and trying to have open ears and eyes to what plans God may have. We’re opening our home in ways we know how to and we’re praying for more.
The Purpose of Home
But let me back up a bit. In order to know the importance of opening our homes, I think it’s important that we know what the purpose of home is… or at least what it is to us.
Let me ask you—what do you believe the purpose of home is?
To me, home is a safe place, where people should be able to truly be themselves, open up, grow, learn, explore, share, love, and become who they were created to be. Home is a sacred space, a holy ground. It’s where live’s are shaped, families are formed, and hearts are handled with care. It’s where discipleship takes place in the form of parenting and examples of love & respect are set in the form of marriage.
And I know that sounds like a high calling for a home, but that’s what I truly believe. And if you believe it too—or even a fraction of it—why would you keep this to yourself? Why would you hoard this precious thing, this home? Why wouldn’t you share it with the world, with those who don’t have access to a home like this, with those who may be in between homes?
Because it’s hard. Because it’s uncomfortable. Because it takes sacrifice.
Making a Case
I want to make a case for opening your home, and in turn, opening your heart. Not just to your family. Not just to your friends. Not just to those who seem like a safe choice, or who can pay you back, or who are likeable. And not just for an hour or an evening. I want to make a case for opening your home and your heart to whoever is placed in front of you, for however long they’re there.
So far I’ve shared my story and my conviction, and now I want to share a few of the things that got me to this point. Over the past 4–5 months, I’ve stumbled across the short video and two articles listed below.
I want to share them with you as my case-makers, because if this idea is speaking to you at all or if you need better convincing of it than I can give you, then these are a great place to start. I encourage you take the time to watch and read them all if this is something you feel stirring in your heart, because I have an inkling that God could use them in your life as He has in mine.
3 Helpful Resources
1. This post does a wonderful job of explaining what hospitality is (and isn’t).
“It is a hospitality of inconvenience and ultimately of suffering. We think hospitality is about our homes, so we wait until everything is just perfect before we invite people in. We forget that what people need is just a little kindness and compassion. They could care less about the fact that our walls need painted and our sofa needs replacing and our soup needs more salt. What they need is just you and me … Hospitality is not a place or a meal; it’s a way of living that makes space for the weary, the heartbroken, and the hopeless; it’s a way of life that leads us home.”
2. This 12-minute video paints a picture of how to use your home to make disciples.
“If we’re going to establish healthy disciple making, we need to recapture the art of hospitality.”
3. This helpful article supports inviting someone to move in with your family.
“[Living with a family is] an incubator for life on life discipleship. And it’s the best kind. It’s quick learning. It’s hard. It’s at times inconvenient. But it’s a blessing that will pay out with so much interest down the road in the lives of those you impact while they are in your home. Invite someone into your home and play a part in Christ’s call for us to help bind the broken-hearted and restore the ruins that have been long devastated.”
Please don’t hear me saying that this idea of opening your home and your heart has to look a certain way, in fact, it will most certainly look different for each of us. But what I am saying is to give it a chance. Think about it. Pray about it. Talk about it with your family. Is there a way that you can open up your home? Is there a way you can practice this radical hospitality that’s inconvenient at its core?
Whether it’s a meal or a weekend stay or a year of living in your guest room—if a person hasn’t experienced home, they will be blessed to experience yours. And who knows? It just might change you too. Open your home, open your heart.
P.S. Hospitality: How Wine & Cheese Can Create a Safe Space
P.P.S. 5 Ways to Cozy Up Your Home for Winter Hospitality